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GOOP detox

10 Sep

So, Gwyneth Paltrow has this website? It’s called GOOP? The icons are cute, and a bunch of the advice is useful. There’s a lot of stuff geared toward people with $$$ (can we all afford to have a “Culinista” come to our houses for grocery consultations? probs no), and some of her “expert” interviews fall flat in terms of practical advice, but, you know, it’s a nice idea overall.

Getting to the point, I tried her 7-day detox last week. A detox isn’t fun, you suffer a bit, and then you feel “lighter” or whatever. As far as detoxes go, this one isn’t bad. GP created this menu with Dr. Alejandro (Ale-Alejandro!) Junger and I’ll tell you one thing, neither of them paid tooooo much attention to palatability.

Here’s the link so you can take a look: http://goop.com/newsletter/15/

I followed the menu as best I could, so yes, I ate some fish this week, and no chicken. I never said I wasn’t flexi-vegan but judge me if you must, dear veggies.

GOOP Cucumber-Avocado Soup - yummm

Recipe-wise, the Detox Teriyaki sauce is excellent. The smoothies, however, are so awful, and play such a big part in the menu, that I’m probably going to come up with my own recipe next time. A cheesy, sour aftertaste? No thanks. Most of the recipes require tweaking, and I added more fruit to the daily meal plans, to keep massive hunger pangs at bay. Per day, there are not enough calories to keep an active adult going. Is being weakened and exhausted a standard side-effect of detoxing? Am I wrong in trying to get as many calories as I need (or somewhere thereabouts)? Seriously, let me know. I know that chili-honey-water-whatever detox makes you hallucinate, but I thought only extreme detoxes made you starve.

There’s also the issue of meal timing, assuming we’re following her plan to the letter. If I wasn’t employed full-time, maybe making my own coconut water would be feasible, as would making fresh juices at 4pm.

Despite all this, I recommend the GOOP detox to non-vegans since there is a nice variety of meals, it isn’t too grueling, and will taste good with the recipe changes listed below! For vegans, you’d just have to choose an alternate smoothie recipe and find non-soy, gluten-free substitutes for the fish and chicken meals.

Carrot-ginger dressing: unless your miso is low-salt, don’t put a whole tablespoon, more like a teaspoon. Also, way too much oil for 1 serving. I only put 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 2 tbsp grapeseed oil, and I spread the dressing over two meals.

Miso soup base: “3 dried shiitake mushrooms” is a bit vague. I’d say take about 10 pieces of those sliced dry shiitakes and throw them in. Also, same miso paste problem here. Six tablespoons of my miso paste = 4230mg of salt. The recipe serves four, but that is still a lot per person. Cut that in half, at least. I omitted the bonito and the soup’s flavour wasn’t very strong, but such is life.

Teriyaki sauce: I used seasoned rice wine vinegar instead of mirin and the result was delicious. Just so you know.

Blueberry-Almond smoothie: I made one with whey protein just to test the flavour. AVOID. Make a nice Greens+ smoothie with water, fruit and hemp protein powder, you’ll be better off.

Cucumber-avocado soup: Juice one SMALL lime, otherwise all you taste is lime. Otherwise it was incredibly refreshing, but not at all filling. That was the night my stomach tried to eat itself. Have some sunflower seeds and a fruit for dessert.

Some final tips: Have pears or apples on hand for when the hunger gets to be overwhelming, and make sure you really pack a variety of veggies into the salads. Go wild, vegetables are mainly low-calorie, and full of nutrients of course.

I hope this turns out to be useful for some of you; it was definitely an interesting week, and I got a killer dressing & a delicious sauce out of it. And I do feel different, in a good way! Definitely better than my pre-detox bloat-ey self.

And now for those banana-walnut muffins I’ve been craving all week…

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Keeeeeeen-waaaaaa

8 Sep

Who loves quinoa? I sure do.

These little suckers are complete proteins, apparently. Always a good thing. They also contain a fair amount of iron, calcium, vitamin B &E, magnesium and manganese. Not bad.

Naturally bitter due to a protective coating, most of the sourness is removed during processing, but you can rinse it a bit more before cooking as an added precaution. It makes a great addition to a salad, soup, chili, stew or sandwich.

Here’s a tasty-sounding recipe I found in Alive magazine a month or so ago, which I adapted only slightly:

Spring salad

  • 1/2 cup frozen green peas
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/2 cup diced cucumber, seeds removed
  • 1/2 cup shelled hempseed nuts
  • 3 tbsp chopped basil or parsley
  • light sprinkling of salt (1/8 teaspoon? The recipe originally called for 1/4 tsp. I find this excessive)
  • 1/4 Cider Vinaigrette (recipe follows)

Soak frozen peas in boiling water. Let sit a few mins then drain. Once mostly-dry, combine with the rest of the ingredients in a large salad bowl. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

Serves 5-6.

Cider Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt (originally 1/2 tsp – can you tell I hate salt?)
  • freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 1 1/2 tsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (originally 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp – which yielded 17g of fat per serving. Yikes!)

With a whisk or in a blender, mix all ingredients except the oil. Continue to mix as you drizzle in the oil. Done!

Two-bean Chili!

24 Aug

Hey guys, chili in the summer isn’t crazy, right? Maybe if my air conditioner broke down, I wouldn’t have made this. Sooooo satisfying, in any case.

I was missing some of my usual spices, I’m still in the process of stocking my pantry, but it turned out surprisingly flavourful.

Kidney/Black-Bean Chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 can organic kidney beans

1/3 cup dry black beans, soaked for 6-8 hours

1/2 large white onion, chopped

1 large garlic clove, smashed

1 can whole tomatos

1 bay leaf

pinch of salt

1/8 teaspoon cumin

1 small red chili*

3 teaspoons tomato paste

2/3 box of pasta (rotini, or similarly funky-shaped short noodle)

*I used one small Thai chili, but it depends on the level of spice you want to achieve. You could use one of the little round peppers that are super-spicy, or just sprinkle in some cayenne, adding until you obtain your desired spice level.

First things first, the black beans are going to have to cook for an hour before you start this recipe. Put them in a small pot and cover with water, exceeding the level of the beans by 2 cm. Sprinkle in a pinch or two of salt. Cook on medium-low, stirring occasionally.

Pour the 1 tbsp of olive oil into a medium pot and heat on medium. Add the onion and cook until translucent, without allowing it to colour. Halfway through, drop in your garlic. I add the garlic this way because I hate the taste of over-cooked garlic, but I do like the flavour to develop a bit before submerging it in tomato sauce.

Pour in the liquid from the can of tomatoes first, and allow to boil for a minute. Add the rest of the contents of the can, then both beans, bay leaf, tomato paste, salt, and spices.

Cook on medium-low (or low, if your stove behaves like mine, providing more heat than I need) for 45 minutes.

While the sauce is doing its thing, cook the pasta according to the instructions provided on the box.

When everything is done, combine the sauce and the pasta and serve!

Serves 3.

Summer salad

17 Aug

It was crazy-hot and humid in Montreal a couple of weeks ago and I was dying for a refreshing meal. When the weather’s like that, it’s heard to eat anything, let alone something that would weigh heavy in the stomach.

So here’s what I came up with! Lots of deliciousness in this guy:

Spinach-Nectarine Salad

1 juicy Ontario nectarine

1/2 of a small box of spinach leaves (or mixed salad greens)

1 small cucumber, sliced

1 carrot, grated

2 tbsp Chia seeds

2-3 tbsp Citrus Dressing* (or to taste)

*Citrus dressing: 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tsp olive oil, pinch of brown sugar or 1/2 tsp agave syrup, pinch of salt, splash of white balsamic vinegar. Shake in a small dressing bottle or whisk in a small bowl.

I put this together just from veggies I had on hand, so consider adding avocado, or seeds (sunflower, etc), or all of the above.

I had a photo of the salad, but my camera apparently ate it, sorrz!****Edit: I found it!

Gettin’ cozy

16 May

It fully poured most of yesterday here in the big M, so in the middle of the afternoon I decided warm, fluffy muffins would help kill the damp chill that was setting in.

Here’s the new fave: Walnut-Date Banana muffins (gluten-free)

1/2 cup brown rice flour                                                    2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup tapioca flour                                                          1/2 rice (or soy) milk

1/2 cup chickpea flour                                                       1/4 cup oil (sunflower, or similar)

3/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar                              2 eggs’ worth of egg replacer

1 tablespoon gluten-free baking powder                      1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

1/8 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup chopped lightly toasted walnuts

1/2 cup diced dates

Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or use muffin/cupcake liners.

Combine the three flours, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, flax seed and salt in a large mixing bowl. Mix, then make a well in the centre.

Whisk the mashed bananas with the rice milk, egg-replacer, oil, and lemon juice. Pour into the well you made in the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Fold in the nuts & dates.

Spoon your batter into the muffin cups. Bake on the middle rack for 20 minutes or until a tester (toothpick, knife, kebab stick…) comes out clean.

Bon appétit!

Free Recipe Tuesday

11 May

I say “Free” not because I usually charge for my recipes, but because this recipe comes from a complementary magazine offered by one of my fave grocery stores, Rachelle-Bery. Free Recipe Tuesdays may not be a weekly occurrence, but will hopefully will be bi-weekly, and will always come from generous cookbook authors and free publications!

Sunflower seed balls!

2 cups pitted dates

1 lb unsalted, natural sunflower seed butter

3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats

1/2 cup shelled unsalted sunflower seeds, optional

. Put dates in food processor and process. You may need a few tablespoons of boiling water to help chop them up. Add seed butter and mix until smooth.

. Scoop mixture into a large bowl and add oats one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. With clean hands, form 1″ (2.5cm) balls and place on place on plate. If using, place sunflower seeds in a wide dish and roll each ball in the seeds. Place finished balls on plate and refrigerate.

. Makes 25 balls.

[nutritional info, per ball: 222 calories, 7g protein, 11g total fat (1g sat, 0g trans), 27g carb, 3g fibre, 1mg sodium]

Super-easy, and sounds deelish – enjoy!